2023 MLB Draft: The Guys That Shouldn't Be Available at 13 for the Chicago Cubs

Dylan Crews
Dylan Crews / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Dylan Crews OF LSU

Athletic: #1

Fangraphs: #1

MLB.com: #1

In a year that sees Victor Wembanyama as the clear number one in the NBA Draft, Connor Bedard as the clear number one in the NHL Draft, Caleb Williams as next year’s clear number one in the NFL Draft and Rose Zhang win her first event on the LPGA Tour after dominating the Amateur ranks, we can add one more phenom to the list. Dylan Crews is as clear cut a number-one overall pick as there has been in recent memory. 

Keith Law of the Athletic pointed out that “Crews was on scouts’ radar as early as his junior year of high school.” He (much like everyone else) was adversely impacted by the pandemic and while he would have likely been a first round pick coming out of high school he chose to enroll at LSU and his time there has been awe-inspiring, to say the least. 

As a freshman he played right field rather than his customary center field and he put up a .362/.453/.663 slash line in 63 games with nearly as many walks (39) as strikeouts (44). He obviously hit for average but he also hit for power, racking up 18 home runs and 36 total extra base hits and he also stole 12 bases. In his sophomore season he “regressed” slightly, seeing his average fall to a measly .349 but his OBP and SLG increased as he hit 22 home runs and a total of 37 extra-base hits. The most important thing he did last season though was transition back to center field where he’s expected to play as a plus defender.

Even if you believe what Fangraphs says when they say, “Crews will show you jailbreak-y, sub-4.1 run times, and he is a plus runner, but his reads in center field aren't great and he projects to an outfield corner in the big leagues,” that’s still an excellent everyday player with center field instincts playing in the corner rather than a Kyle Schwarber/Yordan Alvarez type that was there out of necessity. 

Finally this season he’s been an alien. He has a .432/.573/.736 slash line with significantly more walks (61) than strikeouts (40). He’s stolen fewer bases but he’s picked his spots and is a perfect 6-for-6 in his attempts. Very rarely do you find a true five-tool player that is as polished as Crews is and that’s why we’re likely to see Pittsburgh draft him with the first overall pick, but if for whatever reason he were to fall this is the exact kind of player worth going way over slot value to sign. 

Keith Law finished his scouting report by saying that Crews “should be in the majors before the end of 2024.” To put that in perspective, if Pete Crow-Armstrong is in the majors by the end of 2024, Cubs fans should be overjoyed and he’s been a professional since 2020. That’s the impact of drafting a college hitter versus (an albeit, extremely talented) high school hitter.